Jack Rodwell made his second England appearance in as many games on Tuesday evening and again impressed, starting against Sweden in a central midfield role that allowed for more forays forward than his typical duties at Everton. Leighton Baines completed the 90 minutes and put in a decent showing, but it was his midfield teammate who caught the Evertonian eye.
Capello’s decision to deploy Rodwell as part of a trio paid dividends, and perhaps gave David Moyes something to think about as he searches for a way to return Everton to victory when the Premier League resumes this weekend. By using Rodwell as one-third of the midfield the responsibility on his broad but young shoulders was diminished. For Everton Rodwell often tries to act as playmaker, receiving the ball from under-pressure teammates and attempting to probe forward, but, so far, he lacks the nuance and the technique to do so successfully. For England, being able to play short passes to teammates in close attendance, and with the option of attack-minded wingers too, helped Rodwell to help the team.
Everton have a shortage of strikers but an abundance of central midfielders, and a trio of Rodwell, Marouane Fellaini and Leon Osman – a distinct trio, rather than the usual deep-lying pair and a more attacking player further up the field – could be the closest Everton could come to replicating the formation England employed against Sweden. Add in two direct wingers – Downing and Walcott for England, potentially Royston Drenthe and Seamus Coleman for Everton – and there is the making of a system that appears to suit Rodwell better. Of course, changing the formation to suit one player is usually only done in extreme circumstances but Everton have yet to find a winning formula this season. Certainly, the variations of 4-2-3-1/4-1-4-1 that have been employed in this campaign have failed to deliver positive results.
With an international break to examine all possibilities Moyes may choose to tinker with his set-up when Wolverhampton Wanderers come to Goodison Park on Saturday, or he may persist with the system that has served Everton well since it was first introduced in 2004-05. On such crucial decisions can success or failure depend. But Rodwell’s international bow has been an undeniable triumph, while his Everton career more an exercise in mediocrity, but Capello might have shown Moyes how to finally get the best from his young charge.
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